Welcome to the recap of the Season 11 finale! It has been a wonderful season with some incredibly talented dancers. Tonight there was double the fun with six judges in all: Nigel Lithgoe, Mary Murphy, Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman, Jenna Dewan Tatum and Debbie Allen. Each of the judges and the finalists would be choosing their favorite piece of the season to be reprised.
We were treated to a 1920’s musical style creation by Warren Carlysle featuring the season’s Top 20. They all danced in tuxedos to “Doctor Jazz” from Jelly’s Last Jam and sent the audience jumping out of their seats with approval. It was a fun, crowd-pleasing performance overall even if we are not quite convinced that Ricky can play the trumpet.
Mary’s choice for favorite choreography was Travis Wall’s Contemporary piece to “Like Real People Do” by Hozier. Jessica and Casey were reunited in the light, joyful piece and did a wonderful job. There was one little hiccup in a shoulder lift but it was beautiful nonetheless.
Debbie Allen’s choice was Pharside and Phoenix’s “voodoo” Hip Hop piece for Ricky and Valerie. This performance to “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon featured Valerie’s ridiculous leg wave. Only watch the encore performance if you’re prepared for chills. Brilliant!
Zack chose Sonya Tayeh’s choreography to “Europe, After the Rain” by Max Richter. He and Season 10’s Amy brought back the same level of technique and passion the second time around.
Nigel’s choice was “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson. This choreography from Ray Leeper featured Rudy and All Star Allison who is currently on loan from Dancing with the Stars.
Paula Abdul appeared on stage as a special guest to introduce the winner of So You Think You Can Dance Australia. Michael Damesi performed to “Unstoppable” by E.S. Posthumas and would certainly have given the American dancers a run for their money. Michael’s technique and ability to be strong yet light (all his jumps defied gravity) was jaw-dropping!
Valerie’s favorite piece to perform was her Anthony Morigerato duet with Zack to “Sing” by Ed Sheeran. The dance seemed smoother and more energetic the second time around.
A guest performance by Les Twins came next to “Fading Flower” by Yuna. These two are amazing Hip Hop artists with rubber limbs and have been featured with the likes of Missy Elliot and Beyonce just to name two.
For Ricky’s favorite piece to perform he chose Sonya Tayeh’s Contemporary piece to “The Vow” by Meredith Monk. Ricky effectively reprised the role with fellow finalist Jessica.
Carly and Serge returned to bring back Luther Brown’s skeleton Hip Hop choreography to “Senile” by Young Money feat. Tyga and Nicki Minaj. This performance was shown to highlight the season’s prevailing theme of scary creatures including monsters, vampires, killer spiders and voodoo dolls.
Jasmine Harper from Season 10 and singer Ciara popped into rehearsals to give some encouragement to the Top 4. They talked about the challenges in a competition and pushing oneself to be the best at what one loves.
Jenna Dewan Tatum’s favorite choreography of the season was from Sonya Tayeh. She brought back Tanisha and Rudy in the dance to “You Need” by Bengsons. Tanisha and Rudy danced their leather-clad hearts out for this one.
Enrique Iglesias appeared on stage for the intermission. He and artist Sean Paul performed the single “Bailando.”
“Shrinking violet” Adam Shankman (so dubbed by Cat Deely) chose Pharside and Phoenix’s dualing kings routine for Zack and Ricky. These two danced to “The Antidote” by District 78 and were the antidote for boring dance. The high created by this dance was not even dashed by the news that Zack was in fourth place this season.
Tara Lipinski’s favorite choreography of the season came from the Nappy Tabs duo for Emilio and Jasmine. The snake charmer routine returned in full force to “Get Low” by Dillon Francis and DJ Snake.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson strolled out onto the stage unannounced to make a case for his own candidacy for Season 12. He decided to do so with the aid of Travis Wall (who is apparently Jesse’s spirit animal) but then decided he was stretched out enough for Wall’s technically complex choreography. This heralded in a great video montage of laughs and the most gorgeous choreography of the season.
Choreography dream team Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott collaborated on a spectacular piece of work for the Top 10 and the All Stars. The crew danced to “Sweet Disposition” by Temper Trap in one of those most enthralling performances of the season. All the characters in the piece were in some sort of a bus station dancing in little vignettes before they came together in a powerful canon of movement. It was absolutely chill-inducing and worth a second or third view!
One dance crew to rule them all: You the viewers voted the Bollywood crew The Wanted Ashiqz the winners of Season 11’s “America’s Favorite Dance Crew.” The Wanted Ashiqz performed a rousing dance to “Dhoom Again” from the Dhoom 2 soundtrack. It is incredibly tough to out dance Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan (who starred in the film) but the crew created some very interesting patterns and shapes to full audience approval.
Jessica’s choice was Travis Wall’s Contemporary choreography to “When I Go” by Over the Rhine. Jessica and All Star Robert danced together again before Jessica was announced to be in third place.
The Top 2 (Valerie and Ricky) performed Cat’s pick by choreographer Travis Wall. The two danced to “Oh Darling” by Gossling once again before it was time to announce the season’s winner.
After a montage of the best moments of the season for both Valerie and Ricky, Cat produced the sealed envelope. There was probably little doubt at this point but Ricky is the Season 11 winner! In addition to touring with the Top 10 he will receive a part in the Broadway revival of On the Town and a cover feature in Dance Spirit magazine.
Readers, remember to check out the So You Think You Can Dance website to check out the upcoming tour dates and cities. The SYTYCD Season 11 Top 10 will be coming to more than 70 cities around the country.